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County misses mark on disaster money

Staff writer

Surrounding counties got federal disaster assistance for severe winter storms Jan. 8 to 16 but Marion County’s damage apparently didn’t cost enough to qualify.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Chase, Butler, and Morris counties are among 16 counties that got FEMA grants to help with repairing roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure.

Other counties given FEMA help include Cloud, Edwards, Ford, Geary, Gray, Hodgeman, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Shawnee, Stafford, Trego, and Wabaunsee.

County emergency manager Marcy Hostetler said Marion County’s damage didn’t reach the county’s threshold amount for applying. It was about half the needed dollar amount, she said.

Damage to public property in the county was between $25,000 and $30,000. Damage to private property doesn’t count.

Marion County needed $54,385.80 to qualify for disaster assistance.

“If we don’t meet that amount, we can’t be included,” Hostetler said.

Each county’s threshold is based on population, she said.

Overtime costs for county employees and road damage qualify.

“We can use hourly salary,” she said. “Any overtime is allowed to be counted in that. That’s the biggest chunk of where that figure came from.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said at Tuesday’s county commission meeting that he did not understand how nearby counties got grants while Marion County did not.

Snow removal was expensive, Dallke said.

Commissioner Kent Becker said Chase County had to hire a contractor to remove snow from its roads.

“That’s good to know,” Dallke said.

Dallke said he wanted information about what the county reported as losses from the storm.

He also expressed surprise over the short time the county had to report losses.

“I know in the past, it took a long time to gather the information,” Dallke said.

He mentioned the county had a new road and bridge director, county clerk, and county administrator.

“Let’s see how our team performed,” Dallke said.

Last modified May 2, 2024

 

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